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Welcome to the 2018 Australian Early Development Census National Conference website.

The theme for the conference is “Learning from the Australian story: What we know works to improve outcomes for children”.

The 2018 National AEDC conference is the second national conference to bring together a broad range of professionals to improve the lives of children and families across Australia. In 2015, the National AEDC conference showcased the diverse ways the AEDC was being used to identify and respond to the needs of children and families, to inform research, and as a policy driver. The 2018 National conference seeks to build on this by consolidating the evidence base that is being built in Australia about what works for children and families in the early years.

Conference Themes

We invite presentations that have a focus on what works (or doesn’t) in supporting children’s development, and the impacts of different programs, service models or policies on children’s outcomes. Taking a services and systems approach, for example exploring the impacts of child care, early education, and parenting programs on the AEDC, will provide for an engaging and practical conference for a wide-ranging audience. In this way, the conference seeks to inform early childhood policy decisions and exemplify the utility of the AEDC to determine what works for children, families and communities. Additionally, we invite speakers who have been using linked AEDC data to exemplify the discoveries and learnings that have been unlocked through government data sharing.

Presentations are invited across four streams:

There has been an increased push in integrated services at a community level, for example initiatives such as Child and Family Centres, and Children’s Centres. The AEDC is being used in many of these initiatives to inform service planning and monitor progress. The conference provides an opportunity to consolidate learnings and exemplify best practice principles for place-based early years planning.

Early education (non-formal and formal) and care programs can have a decisive impact on children’s wellbeing, development and learning. The conference provides an opportunity to share the way the AEDC is being used to inform research, policy and practice in early years services (e.g. preschool, playgroup, childcare). Presentations may focus on what the AEDC tells us about the importance of early education and care pathways; what literacy looks like in the AEDC, and; how schools can use AEDC data to inform planning and programming, and in turn shift children’s trajectories.

Recent advances in data linkage have enabled greater insight into the prevalence of child abuse and neglect as well as highlighting the impact of a range of factors on children’s development at a population level.  Families facing multiple and complex barriers to parenting require a service system of supports that is responsive, accessible and fit to context. A dedicated stream will provide the opportunity to focus on recent research, the policy implications and how the AEDC can be used to inform planning for targeted and universal programs that seek to support children living within highly vulnerable contexts.

In the earliest years, health systems have the greatest contact with children and families from pregnancy onward. However the transition from health to other government and non-government social services to ensure the continuity of care and support for children and families can be challenging for practitioners and policy makers alike. This stream will aim to exemplify what works or doesn’t work when taking a systems approach to child health and development across the various service providers.  Of particular interest are examples where the AEDC has been utilised to mobilise, support or evaluate such planning in health services/systems.

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